Life Beyond the Fiery Furnace

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that things aren’t quite right?

We all get it from time to time.  Maybe your kid is out late and you can’t reach him or her on the phone.  Maybe transition is in the air and you can’t see past the end of today.

This time of year is big for transitions, and fear can either help us walk through them with grace – gaining the blessings and avoiding the pitfalls; or it can stop us in our tracks.

Here are five things to do when you feel that overwhelming feeling:

1.  Determine the cause.

If your house is on fire, your fear is real.  If you are just frozen with the fear that there might be a fire, then you might be fighting unrealistic fear.  Real fear gives us the adrenaline and sharp senses that we need for a crisis.  Fake fear is debilitating, and burns out our adrenal glands.

2.  Find a way to process your fear.

Either talk about it with a friend or journal about your feelings.  Years ago, I led a women’s bible study.  I had been out of ministry for some time, and going back into ministry took a real tole on me.  Every night after the bible study, no sooner would our car leave the church parking lot than I’d be overcome with dread.

  • “I talked too much.”
  • “No one wants to listen to me”
  • “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.”

Thoughts like these rolled through my head, giving me a whole-body panicky feeling.  I had a friend who had agreed to be my partner for the bible study, and every Thursday morning I would call her with my feelings of fear and dread.  She would talk me down, and I’d get ready for the following week.

Finally, after a year, I realized that she had been saying the exact same words every Thursday morning for a year.  The problem I was facing was in my head.  I decided to make that fear stop.  Instead of calling her, I took what she had been saying, and started saying it to myself.  Within a couple weeks, I no longer left the meetings in a panic.  Fear had almost debilitated me, but instead, I became much stronger.  I couldn’t have done it without my friend.

3.  Do it afraid.

I think I first heard this from Joyce Meyer, but ‘do it afraid’!  Whatever you are afraid to do, do it anyway.  The worst of it is already going on in your head.  Don’t let your body give into what your brain is telling you.

4.  Know scripture and know God.

God will bring scripture to your mind.  Make sure that you are in the Word.  Also, make sure that you know God well enough to hear His voice.  He can speak to you in the middle of really difficult times and help you keep going.

5.  Expect an end.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo (the three friends of Daniel) faced King Nebuchadnezzar when they chose to follow God and not bow to the idol.  They faced their fear by choosing to go through the worst, even if the worst happened. Daniel 3:16-18 gives their approach to this life and death situation:

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we service is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

They determined to go ahead and stick to their guns, even if it meant their death.  Here is the interesting part:

It wasn’t until they went through the mouth of the furnace that they found God’s redemption.  Can you imagine?

Shadrack whispers to Meshach as they watch the soldiers making the furnace seven times hotter, “Surely God will save us, we are standing up for Him.”

“Yeah, there should be an earthquake about now”  Meshach bends his knees a bit, anticipating a violent quake.

The soldiers pick them up, and toss them into the furnace.  Abednigo suddenly lets out a holler, “Dude!  Did you see those guards fall over dead?”

All of  a sudden, the three who were thrown into the furnace find themselves sitting on the floor of the furnace.   They look at each other, stunned. “Hey, my hands are untied.  What about yours?”

Getting up, they notice ‘one like the Son of God’ walking around with them.  Their hearts are encouraged;  so much so that Nebuchadnezzar had to tell them to come out of the furnace.

Are you facing devestation on all sides?  Sometimes you have to determine to go forward no matter what.  There are times when we don’t see God’s provision until we have passed through the mouth of the furnace – but in the end, we come out ‘not even smelling like smoke’.  Why?  Because we serve the God of the impossible, and He deals with the realm of faith.

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”  Today, I want to encourage you to walk in “no matter what” faith.

I don’t know if God has called you to a task, or you are just walking through a deep valley, but God is the God of the impossible, and all things are possible to him who believes.  Even life beyond the fiery furnace.

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2 Responses to “Life Beyond the Fiery Furnace”

  1. cre8ivegirl Says:

    Love this post. “Have faith in what you cannot see.”

  2. Jeanine Says:

    Excellent!

    I especially like the part where you finally “heard” what our friend had been saying all year! That’s often the case, isn’t it? Our own words to ourself aften play back so loudly that we don’t hear the wise advice others may be giving!

    Thanks for sharing this!

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